Monday, May 18, 2015

Coming Exhibition: Katie Crown, Gary Polonsky, Joan Ransohoff, Tom Wheeler

Tues May 19 - Sat June 13, 2015 

Reception: Sat., May 30, 5-8 p.m. 

Artist Talk: Sat., June 6, 3 p.m. 

Katie Crown, Audience 4, Oil on canvas, 49x73"
Katie Crown’s new paintings of audiences are an extension of her earlier ceramic sculptures of audiences and her paintings of people in other group settings. She goes for humor in all these works, now with a palette from black to white. 

Her favorite movies are the gritty film noir dramas from the 1940s and ‘50s, and these audience paintings can be seen as a nod to noir: raw, not tasteful.  Crown was influenced by German Expressionist art, and film noir actually grew out of interest in early German Expressionist film.  The contorted faces and odd angles intrigue her.  When studying at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, she took courses in German Expressionist film and literature.  Katie loves Paul Klee for his humor and poetic sense, but when painting figuratively she's more indebted to Max Beckmann and Ludwig Kirchner.  Crown uses patterns to energize the scenes. Her “audiences” ride the border between reality and cartoon.  

New Work from the Food Series
Gary Polonsky, Del Monte Fruit Cocktail, Acrylic and mixed media, 21 x 9 x 9"
Breaking from the flat surface of traditional painting, Gary Polonsky brings three-dimensional painting to a new level of depth and focus as he revisits his food series. Polonsky began exploring non-traditional mediums and eventually settled on a combination of Balsawood, Styrofoam and wire-mesh to create eye-catching wall-based constructions that leave the viewer awestruck.

Though wall-based, Polonsky’s work have a tangible quality. One is very tempted to touch and feel the work. It is as if the pieces are teasing the viewer. They are clearly not edible, but one has an insatiable desire to pick them up and take a bite! 

Joan Ransohoff, Santa Ynez Vineyard, Oil on canvas, 10 x 18"
Joan Ransohoff's exhibition of work features original paintings done on location and inspired by the artist’s travels around the country, particularly California, Idaho, Utah, Washington, Connecticut, New York and the Hudson River Valley. Not all paintings are done on location to completion. Some are studies on site and finished in the studio. Working from nature directly allows Ransohoff to see color and shadow differently and in the studio, she uses photographs to sharpen her memory. On location, she makes quick sketches of the landscape to get the composition. Then she focuses on color.

Ransohoff is an instinctual painter, and tries not to get too detailed. Ultimately, her goal is to load the car and head out to find a scene that challenges her to try and capture its freshness. Joan Ransohoff is an artist member of the California Art Club and serves on the board of The California Art Academy and Museum.

Into the Night
Tom Wheeler, The Great Green Electric, Archival pigment print, ed. 1/10, 36 x 44”
Tom Wheeler likes to light things up, literally, and with flashlights. That is probably a good thing, or maybe a necessity, because he is a landscape photographer who works in complete darkness. 

Outdoor photographers often speak passionately of light, created uniquely at a moment in time by nature, by something close to divine circumstance. Wheeler approaches the use of light, and even photographic elements themselves, quite differently in his landscape imagery. 

Landscape photography is always at the foundation of his images. Most of his photography is, in fact, about the landscape first, and then an enhancement, or artistic license with light tools. All imagery is hand-made at the time of exposure and there are no additions by Photoshop or any other means added in post-production processing. Some of his themes include whimsy. Beach balls in the desert, a life-sized plastic horse, or a cement deer are all fair “game”. But on closer look, there is also a serious reverence to nature as well. In all his artwork there is interpretation, but even the subjects in his whimsical work are most often framed within spectacular elements of natural surroundings. The rugged and often remote "wilds" of the western U.S. are subject locations of preference, while unspoiled deserts, mountains, and forests of this region offer a myriad of photo opportunities.  

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Art Story: Anne M Bray

Anne M Bray, P is for Prada Marfa, Valentine, TX, 
Digital painting printed on various substrates in various sizes, ©2015 
An art installation set in the middle of nowhere, Prada Marfa is located 26 miles northwest of Marfa on US90. It was in a bedraggled state in 2014 -- graffiti covered the back exterior wall, bits of glue were slathered on the windows. From what I can tell from Instagram, the awnings have been refurbished and things have been cleaned up. Inside is a mock Prada shop with the coveted bags and shoes (the shoes are left foot singles) displayed.

I used this same image for a piece in my On the Edge: US digital watercolor series:
Anne M Bray, Prada Marfa, 
Digital watercolor printed on various substrates in various sizes, ©2014
[The above is a repost from Anne's travel blog, On the Edge]

See more of Anne's work in her current show, Southwestern Sojourn, at TAG until 5/16.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Coming Exhibition: Anne M Bray, Michael Knight, Ellen Starr

Tues. April 21st – Sat. May 16th, 2015

Opening Reception: Saturday, April 25, 5-8 p.m.

Artists' Talk: Saturday, May 9, 3pm

Southwestern Sojourn, Anne M Bray
Anne M Bray, Dawn: Reeves County, TX, Oil on canvas, 24 x 48", ©2001
Anne M Bray's core subject is the American landscape as seen from the highway. It's a modern take on the Hudson River School's devotion to the sublime beauty of nature. In her current exhibition, Southwestern Sojourn, Bray limits her focus to the southwestern region of the US. “The stark beauty of sky and earth stripped down to their core elements pulls my soul.”
For more than twenty years, Bray has taken “on the fly” research shots and then later interpreted them in the studio. She’s not satisfied with keeping the images as photographs – “that format seems too cold and detail-laden”. She distills the information manually through paint or modifies it digitally, simplifying the compositional elements and adding her emotional response to the place and time. “My roadscapes are a celebration of fleeting moments frozen in time. Urban, rural, and the roads in-between -- I share with the viewer windows for contemplation.”

Precarious, Michael Knight
Michael Knight, Badges? Badges?... Acrylic on paper, 23 x 31 in
Life is a balancing act. We walk tightropes over familial issues, current affairs, societal pressures, work politics and the like. In Precarious, artist Michael Knight illustrates the journey; the process by which we make these journeys. Knight’s interest in process has generally been about the technique and execution of his art. In this exhibition, it is also about the subject matter. He creates imagery to match our realities. The work forces us to evaluate how we deal with the intricacies of our lives. Michael Knight works in a wide range of media to create art that questions and challenges perception of society, culture and the individual.

Back to Nature, Ellen Starr
Ellen Starr, Ballona Wetlands, Acrylic on canvas, 20 x 24 in.
In her latest exhibition, Back to Nature, Ellen Starr explores the endless possibilities of subject matter presented to us in the natural world.  Using acrylic paint on canvas, she strives to clarify the visual intricacies of every-day subjects, primarily landscapes. Starr’s work brings the viewers into the landscapes and enables them to feel as though they are seated next to her as she paints. Composition – the delicate balance of numerous details – is a major concern, but even more important is communicating to the viewer a deep love of Nature.